In First, music, stories

Musical Mission to Bulgaria

Cantor Maissner led a musical mission to Bulgaria in early July. He had been invited to participate in the European premiere of A Melancholy Beauty. This oratorio powerfully recounts and honours the saving of 49,000 Bulgarian Jews in the Second World War, virtually its entire Jewish population. The resistance of King Boris, the clergy, and the Bulgarian people showed true courage and decency against the demands of Hitler to hand over the Jews of Bulgaria. Bulgaria has been celebrating the 75th anniversary of this little known and extraordinary historic event.

Singers from Holy Blossom Temple choir, Lachan Jewish Chamber Choir, and Temple  Singers sang together with Bulgaria’s national philharmonic choir and orchestra before ambassadors from the US and Israel in 2 sold-out performances. A children’s choir from the US and the renowned national women’s folk choir from Bulgaria joined us.

The most emotional moments may have been our own concert of Jewish music in Sofia’s historic synagogue and a warm welcome evening from the local Sephardi Jewish community.

You can follow the preparation and tour in the photo journal here.

Thank you to Cantor Maissner and Varna International Festival for the opportunity to be part of this extraordinary historic celebration.

Susan Cohen and Denise Gordon

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  • Michael Greenstein

    Those who sang so meaningfully in Bulgaria did Toronto proud.

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